Mr Tree doesn’t live here anymore

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty answers your questions
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Question: We bought our house two years ago but have since discovered that the man we bought it from was in financial difficulties. A number of creditors have chased him at our address and this morning a solicitor was at the front door trying to serve some documents on him. Can this man’s poor credit record affect our own because of the common link with the property? Can we remove our address from his records and alert his creditors that he has moved?

Answer: Credit ratings are personal to an individual, so the fact that a prior occupier had a poor credit rating will not affect your rating. However, their records will include links to any old addresses. You can obtain a copy of your credit report from one of the credit agencies for £2.

What has happened will not affect your score. If there are inaccuracies in your record you can ask for the report to be corrected.

There is no global way of preventing creditors from chasing the vendor at an old address. They will use "last known addresses". You should return every piece of correspondence marked "return to sender, no longer at this address". Don’t just forward it the previous owner because he might ignore it.

If someone appears on your doorstep do not let them in and tell them that the person they are looking for no longer lives at your address. Be helpful but firm: give them a forwarding address you have.

Bailiffs can only seize property that belongs to the debtor and no action can be taken against you/your home or your property if it is not you that owes the money.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors

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